We received two of them yesterday, not from Glock but from our usual distributor. And for over a month now we have been deluged with ostensibly objective articles all over the gun media singing the virtues of the Gen 5 Glocks...almost to a messianic level. I suspect that Glock didn't send these early samples out to people who were not in the pocket of the company, promised to give a favorable review, or at least "of the faithful". But now we have them.
In short...it is a Gen 4 Glock without finger grooves. That's it. Yes, it has some new additions such as
1). Ambidextrous slide releases: I can't comment of the game shooters or the Youtube gun jugglers but most modern combat-centric training today involves operating the slide manually over the top during a reload. The slide release is actually a superfluous item that often gets in the way of the most solid grip. Now it will get in the way for both right handers and left handers. If I ever run one of these, I may well simply remove that part completely.
2). New barrel: The Glock 19 and Glock 17 have always had different barrel lock up designs and one wonders what the Austrians were thinking. The new barrel for the Glock 19 is the same as the old barrel for the Glock 19. And the barrels from older generations interchange. The new barrel for the Glock 17 is basically a long Glock 19 barrel. The Gen 5 17 uses the same dimensions for the lock up as the Glock 19. This is something that should have been done long ago, but you know how much changes in design cost. Barrel makers will simply extend the length of their existing Glock 19 barrels and have a new Gen 5 17 barrel.
3). New Rifling: I was in a big gunfight some years ago where all of us were using either HK USP or Glock 9mm. It was impossible for the CSI of the day to determine which man had fired which round as all had been fired from Polygonal barrels. Having been out of the business now for many years, I am not sure if the CSI issue is still in existence. I do know that some police agencies have had concerns over this for a very long time (the need to blame is ever present in paramilitary organizations). So the main motivator is to be able to say who fired what at whom. Whether the new barrels are more or less accurate I cannot say at this point with any degree of authority.
4). Trigger: The trigger feels exactly the same as every other Glock trigger. Those that tell you that it is now vastly improved...well sorry...not that anyone would ever inflate a review of a free product...but we didn't see that. The trigger is simplified in its design. It is now the same design as found on the Glock 43. It uses a different trigger bar, and a different trigger spring system. The connector is the same and the connectors on our samples were of the "." variety, or the "dot connector".
5). Frame: Yes, they got rid of the finger grooves. Some guys are dancing, others are not. Finger grooves are one of those things that some like and some don't. Easily enough to remove. Not so easy to add. The frame feels like a Gen 4 frame otherwise. The magazine well has been flared and it is nicely done. Gen 5 users won't need to buy a magazine well so I doubt the aftermarket will offer one. Some of our larger handed staff did note that the cut-out intended to extract the on-board magazine in case it is stuck was objectionable to the hand. This feature existed in the Gen 2 Frames and now it has been brought back.
6). The Magazine: Glock basically tried to copy Magpul's magazine...which Magpul copied from them...oh the irony. Its a typical magazine body with an orange follower (gotcha Magpul!) and an extended magazine lip. Older Generation magazines will work fine in the Gen 5 as will the Magpul magazines. With Magpul's entry into the "Magazines for Glocks" market, I doubt there will be a great deal of demand for the "New Gen 5 Mags - at $30"...but I could be wrong. The new magazines work fine in the older weapons.
7). Internals: The firing pin is different...rounded rather than chisel pointed. In my opinion, a fix to the breakage of metal injection molded firing pins that few in the industry reported on. The new firing pin...is still metal injection molded...just thicker. The firing pin safety plunger is different...again just like the Glock 43. In fact, if we were to take a Glock 43 and feed it a steady diet of Dianobol and Deadlifts, it would likely grow up into a full-sized Gen 5 Glock.
8). Some other points: My understanding is that there will not be any 40, 10mm, 45, 45 GAP, 357 SIG, or any other caliber floating around the glockosphere, in Gen 5. It has a new finish, although when compared to a new Gen 4 pistol, it doesn't look so different. I know about finishes and there is nothing new and unseen. It is either a cleaner version of Melonite, or it is a DLC Coating. The finish on the slide is new and the process is named nDLC. I will bet you that they Melonite it for surface hardness, and then DLC it for market appeal (shiny sells). Other than the thumb safety - which in my opinion would have been a great addition to the Gen 5 - the new pistol is very similar to the lost military contract pistol.
That is the long and short of it. My impressions -
If you have a Gen 4, I would not rush out to put it on Gunbroker so you can buy a Gen 5. It really is not that different and what it offers is hardly ground breaking. I still carry Gen 3 pistols by choice.
Does it suck? No, absolutely not. And for a new Glock buyer it is probably a great choice. But for those heavily equipped with Gen 3 and Gen 4 pistols...keep what you have. And yes, we will be making slides, triggers, barrels, and everything else for the Gen 5 once their market proliferation is sufficient to warrant it.